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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Right Tool for the Job


Photography is one of those subjects that appeals to a broad range of tastes. Some enjoy the technical aspects, some the creative form, many enjoy it as a hobby, whilst others also use it to pay the bills. Needless to say opinions on gear, technique and composition can vary widely, but strangely to the extent that passion for the subject can lead to many an argument on a photo forum. The most irate of these revolve around the photo equipment necessary to produce the best image quality possible, but whilst image quality is important, it should really be about producing the image quality that’s good enough for the intended use. For me it’s not just about image quality, it’s about having the camera with me to take the photo, having the right lens with me, or sometimes the wrong lens to force me to think of new compositions, but most of all it’s about enjoyment from my photography. Indeed image quality is just one element that needs balancing with the myriad of variables involved with taking a photograph, which include not only camera features, but other aspects such as composition and lighting, and depending on the combination of all these variables the correct photo equipment might not be the same equipment that would produce the best image quality. The old adage of “the right tool for the job” is applicable to photography as it is to DIY.

A Panasonic 100-300 used to provide a close up of a frieze
It’s for this reason I made my initial move into micro four thirds with a Panasonic G1. This provided me with a light weight compact SLR equivalent for those shots where I didn’t need the quality of my Canon 5D2 and Canon L lenses, and where I didn’t want to carry the weight of the Canon gear. I find taking a photograph as much fun as showing off the results of my hard work, and I found as Panasonic steadily added more features into their micro four thirds system with the GH2 and GH3, that it increasingly became more practical and fun to use for photography over my Canon 5D2. I have now reached a point where micro four thirds is what I’d call my primary system for general all round photography, but I still use my 5D2 for those instances that better suit it, and I’ve further exploited this by rounding out my set of Canon tilt and shift lenses for studio and architecture.

A Canon TSE 17 used to pull the east and west wing of the house out of focus.
I have seen some photos where the GH2 was giving me better image quality than the 5D2, but stop down both and the situation reversed, so it’s rarely clear cut that one system has better image quality than another. This brings me to the point I want to make. Forget about arguing over whether one system is better than the other, just choose the one that suits you, or the one you enjoy using most, or if you can afford more than one system use the right tool for job and your needs. Most of all enjoy it!

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